Sure they are. You all will have to forgive me today. I am not in a place where I should be writing. But that’s the whole point of this resolution to write through the theses. To do so no matter what limitations are upon me.
The irony is that why I am not in a place to write is because of the sound of human conversations. I’ve been through more in the last 13 hours than I had in months, years. (Time being all flexible and shit) All of what I am going through comes down to human conversations via voice.
Once upon a pain, I wrote this: “You can’t touch this…this me through the screen.” My writing of this post was for various reasons. I was on the cusp of losing two of my closest companions over a digital dualist argument about whether we can have real connection with someone we have only met online—the argument being that only “real” affection can happen in person.
Many people occupy either side of the argument. With the threat of human identities being “twitter bots”, the person with whom I was speaking when I wrote that blog post tried to argue me out of my feelings of loss over the person for whom I had written it based on this argument. So I wrote through my thoughts to find where I stood.
At the time, I hadn’t heard the voice of the man I felt I loved. I hadn’t seen his face, touched his skin, or seen the way he could look at me. All I knew was his voice in type.
His voice was human enough that I loved him. I knew that by the way we spoke with one another. That was all I needed to know to know my feelings.
But what does that mean in the context of this thesis?
Sargoth wrote today about how marketers fail to market to us. This is because even when marketers collect and use their big data to project and guide their products to consumers based upon what they can gauge as needs, they are missing so much.
Marketers will only obtain trends and conglomerations; they will never focus on the frays, the margins—the places where real identity and need thrive. This has everything to do with culture. What Sargoth reminds us comes down to good research. She looks back into the marketing campaigns of the 50s and 60s, which we all can lean on sweet, warm-apple-pie nostalgia. (if you’re looking for a good subversion of this, read Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles.) The point Sargoth leads me to is this:
Culture is, and will always be, a marketing campaign.
That is, until we start making it ourselves. They will tell us what is real and what is not. They’ll divide us any way they can. The digital divide is “real”, right?
Those feelings I had described in that post were—and are—more real than anyone in my life was comfortable admitting, including myself. I had to write me to get there. And here I am. I met the love of my life in twitter. Our friendship was only possible in the digital world of text. But that never made it less real or less alive. In fact, I can say with experience that it made flesh all the more real, all the more tangible. More than any other friendship has ever been capable.
Whenever a human voice begins to rupture (D)ominant culture, dominant culture will attack with the only backlash it has: slogan. It will tell us what we need, what is real, and who we are. If we are unsure about any of these things, we leave ourselves open to subjection, then objectification; we let dominant culture decide for us.
This is not agency—though it’ll seem like such at times. What is agency is what we make.
The only way to make ourselves is to create. And that takes conversation, human conversation. Yet, things are going to get tricky, as they often do. I have to make another argument here, and I won’t surmise it in a pretty boxed answer for any of you either:
Even bots are human.
Don’t believe me? Just go ask @sargoth_ebooks.